A Man Became A Terrorist Suspect After Someone Thought The Malaysian Flag Had ISIS Symbols

The flag was mistaken as an American flag decorated with ISIS symbol.

Cover image via SNSP Enterprise Malaysia & The Independent

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas has filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, 16 March on behalf of Munir Zanial, a Malaysian national of Indian ancestry who said he was falsely accused of being a terrorist

Last year, Zanial rented a park area to host a Merdeka party but someone thought it was an ISIS meeting

Recreational lake owned by SBEA

Image via Spirit Boeing Employees' Association

KMUW reported that Zanial, an engineer for Spirit Aerosystems, rented a recreational lake managed by the Spirit Boeing Employees' Association (SBEA) to celebrate Malaysia's 60th Independence Day as well as Hari Raya Haji on 2 September 2017.

The celebration was attended by 45 guests, the majority of whom were of Malaysian Indian ancestry. One of the invited guests brought a Malaysian flag to the party.

However, a park employee saw the Malaysian flag and thought it was an American flag that had been decorated with ISIS symbols

American flag (left) and ISIS flag (right)

Image via WIkipedia & The Independent

The employee made a complaint to SBEA and alerted Spirit Aerosystems, Zanial's employer, saying that Zanial and his guests were using the property to hold an ISIS gathering.

In response, Spirit Aerosystems reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alleging that a "group dressed in Muslim garb" with "an American flag desecrated with ISIS symbols" held a meeting on SBEA's property. 

However, in the following month FBI contacted Zanial to let him know that they dropped the investigation shortly after receiving the complaint as they determined that the Malaysian flag had nothing to do with ISIS.

According to the court filing, Zanial found out in January 2018 that he has been barred from renting a space at the recreational park despite paying for SBEA's membership at a monthly rate of USD14 (RM55)

Image via KWCH

As a result of his membership rights being restricted, he has filed a discrimination lawsuit to set the record straight.

The lawsuit states, "Zanial is concerned that the investigation could affect his lawful permanent residence status. He also feels distress and humiliation based on this experience of being singled-out because of his ethnicity, race, and religion."

Zanial is seeking to have his membership restored, damages from SBE, as well as payment of his attorneys' fees.

Zanial is currently a permanent resident of the United States and has been living in Wichita since 2011. He earned a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University and is a senior engineer at Spirit Aerosystems.

We are speechless...

Image via Ryan Gosling

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